Every year brings a fresh brouhaha about the budget and how it will affect what seems to be an ever-tightening purse string. This year’s budget speech is no different, but the truth is, although local government should probably be lambasted for their wanton waste of cash, you can still cope perfectly well, and make a lot of money by watching your expenses. In that sense, well, the world hasn’t really changed much since the days of Rome.
It could be argued that this year’s 3 big budget speech bombshells are the increase in personal tax, sin tax, and fuel tax. Also no real surprises there.
The increase in personal tax will probably only affect the top-end earners, with some reports suggesting that it will cost about R1,000 a year extra. While this is a pain, it only works out to about R85 a month – so one less Happy Meal and Big Mac. The lower end of income strata will probably hardly be affected, and those under the tax threshold will obviously not be affected at all.
An increase in sin taxes is normal, and it happens every year. Booze and smokes will always be heavily taxed, and given the move towards a zero alcohol policy on local roads, substance abuse, domestic violence and road deaths, it’s probably not a bad thing. Otherwise, drink up and cough up (pardon the pun) the extra dosh.
Finally, the beloved fuel levy. As one of the most expensive places in the world to buy petrol, you’d think we’d have less racing on the roads and a switch to public transport, which would make the government very happy. But for the hassle-free service that your car offers you (even with the traffic), maybe this is a luxury you can afford.
Unless you’re planning a move to Dubai or another tax-free haven, taxes are inevitable. Learn to love them (or at least tolerate them).